Connect with us


Meta Quest Pro review: A very expensive VR experiment that doesn’t have a target audience



Source image:

Sofia Pitt using Meta Quest Pro

Sofia Pitt

I’ve been testing the new $1,500 Meta Quest Pro virtual reality headset since it launched on Oct. 25.

After spending about two weeks with it, here’s my takeaway: The Pro has an identity crisis.

At $1,500, it’s far too expensive to be considered a consumer device for gaming. Unfortunately, most of the apps on the device haven’t been optimized for the new Pro, so it also doesn’t feel ready for professional use, either. Meta still needs VR developers who are looking to enhance the metaverse to buy the Pro and create more apps and use cases for the headset.

Investors have been particularly concerned about the amount of money the company is spending on its Reality Labs division, which built the new headset. So far this year, Meta has lost $9.4 billion betting on the metaverse, and shares of the company are down about 70% year to date. Meta announced Wednesday it’s laying off 11,000 employees.

But CEO Mark Zuckerberg warned that these metaverse advancements wouldn’t be seen for five to 10 years. “Our hope is that within the next decade, the metaverse will reach a billion people, host hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce, and support jobs for millions of creators and developers,” Zuckerberg wrote in an October 2021 blog post.  

He’s betting the metaverse is the new frontier of the internet. “We believe VR devices will help usher in the next computing platform — becoming as ubiquitous as laptops and tablets are today — and that people will use them in their everyday lives to access the metaverse,” Zuckerberg wrote in the announcement for the new Meta Quest Pro.

“The metaverse is not going to be busted or made based on Pro,” said Gene Munster, founder and managing partner at Loup Ventures.

Instead, this latest product launch is another “aggressive experience experiment,” Munster said. “They’re creating a business around how people are going to use tech in the future.”

In other words, the Meta Quest Pro is a very expensive experiment built to help figure out the use cases for the metaverse.

Here’s what the headset is like.

Meta Quest Pro vs. Meta Quest 2: Design upgrades

The fit and design of the Meta Quest Pro are a huge upgrade compared with the Meta Quest 2 headset, which launched in 2020 under the name Oculus Quest 2.

The battery has been moved to the back, making the weight distribution much better. New “pancake” lenses — they’re flat like a pancake instead of round and bulky — are much thinner and provide better peripheral vision.

Meta Quest Pro.

Sofia Pitt

Even though the headset is more comfortable, wearing it for long periods of time can take a toll on your forehead. When you set up your Pro, and whenever you put it on, it will prompt you to do a fit calibration check to make sure the device is snugly fastened to your head. I found that these recommendations make the headset too tight, so follow Meta’s fit guidelines at your own risk.

Forehead marking after prolonged use of the Meta Quest Pro. 

The Meta Quest Pro has an upgraded processor. The new Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Plus promises up to 50% more performance power, according to Meta. Paired with the new screens, it also allows for richer colors, deeper blacks and better visuals.

The new processor, combined with added eye and face tracking, means your avatar more accurately reflects you in VR. Eye and face tracking is the most exciting update. If you’re smiling, your avatar smiles too. If you’re looking pensive, your avatar looks deep in thought. This makes interactions in the metaverse feel more lifelike. Your avatar won’t look like an accurate depiction of you, but your true emotions will be communicated in your expressions when you’re interacting with others.

Meta Quest Pro with light blockers attached.

Sofia Pitt

You can also attach the included magnetic light blockers to the sides of your headset to feel more fully immersed in the world of VR. While much more light is blocked out when compared with the Quest 2, it’s still not completely dark. There’s also a magnetic face ring attachment that’s meant to block out light entirely, but it’s sold separately and costs an additional $50.

The controllers were also upgraded. They are now chargeable and don’t require you to replace the batteries, which makes them much easier to use. They track your hand movements through cameras that face outwards. They’re much less clunky and they even have a cool feature where you can replace the strap hardware with a stylus nub so you can replicate the feeling of drawing.

The new controllers pair with previous Meta headsets, too, but cost $299 if you buy them separately.

Meta also added color pass-through capability on the Pro, replacing the hazy black-and-white version on earlier models, allowing you to see virtual images on top of real-life objects. For example, while painting on a virtual canvas, you can see the objects in the room around you. It looks as though the virtual canvas is set up in the room you’re in.

The headset has angled speakers that project sound into your ears and a microphone that picks up even faint whispers slightly better than the microphone on the Quest 2.

Entering the metaverse: A not-so-warm welcome

The first interaction I had with someone in Horizon Worlds was another avatar telling me to “f— off.”

Horizon Worlds is a social virtual reality application created by Meta that allows users to explore virtual worlds and interact with other participants virtually. This is Meta’s main metaverse platform.

Social etiquette isn’t the same in VR as it is in reality. While I was engaging in another social interaction, a female user’s avatar started hitting my avatar, which is not allowed per Meta’s guidelines. If someone’s behavior is inappropriate, you can report them. You can also set up boundaries so people can’t get too close to you.

There are Community Guides, employed by Meta, who walk around Horizon Worlds and help guide you through your Horizon Worlds experience. I listened in on a conversation others were having with one of the guides. The other users wanted to know more about him and how much money he made, which he said he couldn’t share.

And I thought it was weird when someone asked me how I could afford my Meta Quest Pro.

There were pleasant interactions, too. Many legless avatars told me information about the different worlds I was in and where to go to see a comedy show or play a game. I even played virtual beer pong with some folks, but things turned sour when my opponent said, “If I make this shot, you have to CashApp me $5.” I walked away from the game.

Horizon Worlds using the Meta Quest Pro.

Sofia Pitt

Wooorld helped me see the metaverse’s potential

The major issue with the new headset is not its design, it’s the software. There aren’t enough apps that are optimized to take advantage of the Meta Quest Pro’s updates.

The app Wooorld is a perfect example of this. The point of Wooorld is exploration. You are transported by picking a landmark on a topographical map, which then shows you real photos of your surroundings. I was able to travel to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the Pyramids of Egypt, and a mountain in Japan.

Egyptian Pyramid in Wooorld on Meta Quest Pro.

Sofia Pitt

I can see the use case for this sort of application. Imagine being a middle school history teacher trying to explain the Great Wall of China. Taking the students right to it in virtual reality could help keep them interested.

Golden Gate Bridge on Wooorld application using Meta Quest Pro.

Sofia Pitt

But the pictures are grainy and getting to different locations isn’t easy. It took me 45 minutes to figure out how to move around in Wooorld. When you make it to your desired location, you can see a 360-degree view of the landmark, but I wish you could see more, walk around and access additional information about the location.

Overall, the experience is not better than the much more affordable Meta Quest 2.

Wooorld application view of Japanese mountain. 

Sofia Pitt

Meditating in the metaverse

I am an avid meditator; I try to get 10 to 20 minutes of mindfulness practice every day. I typically use a guided meditation app to practice, but meditation in the real world will never be the same now that I’ve done it in the metaverse.

TRIPP is a guided virtual reality experience that fully immerses you in meditation. If you’ve ever tried meditating before, you know that quieting your thoughts is usually the most challenging part. Connecting to the present moment is easy when you are consumed by visuals and auditory instructions.

TRIPP application on the Meta Quest Pro.

Sofia Pitt

In TRIPP, users are guided through breathing exercises that use visual cues to help them get into the activity. For example, when you’re inhaling and exhaling, little particles appear to virtually flow in and out of your mouth. The app also incorporates games into mindfulness. You’re tasked with using your head to direct an object that touches different coins, while simultaneously avoiding obstacles. For me, it was pretty hard to stress about my to-do list when I was trying to focus on the object of the game.

I left my meditation sessions feeling a little more connected to the present moment. I was able to better concentrate on tasks afterward without getting pointlessly lost in thought.

Productivity in the metaverse

I did not find it productive to actually work with my headset on, which is one of the main Pro headset use cases Meta promotes.

“One of the problems Meta is trying to solve is trying to help people collaborate in a hybrid environment,” Munster said.

I used an app called Immersed to project my computer screen in VR. While using Immersed you can co-work with others, write on a whiteboard, type, watch videos — essentially anything you can do on a computer.

There’s also Meta’s own Horizon Workroom, which is a VR workspace that allows you to connect, collaborate and create. The face and eye tracking make the avatar experience more lifelike, but besides that, both apps perform similarly to how they do when used on the Meta Quest 2.

Immersed application on Meta Quest Pro.

Sofia Pitt

The benefit of working in the metaverse is that you remove outside distractions. Unless you have phone notifications set up, you can only see what exists on the screens in front of you. In theory, this is a great idea. I often get distracted by things going on in the environment around me, and Immersed removes the temptation to talk to people around you or pick up your phone.

But I felt disoriented. I was itching to take the headset off after a few minutes of trying to read an article. My eyes felt tired from stimulation and the headset felt too heavy to wear for more than an hour at a time. While I was able to wear the headset for longer while in Horizon Worlds, for some reason reading and typing felt more strenuous, which is why I had a hard time with work productivity in VR.

Being creative in the metaverse is a different story. I used the app Painting VR and found it really engaging and exciting to put a virtual brush to a canvas. Once you get a hang of the hand gestures, you can mix colors, experiment with different brush sizes and even press against the canvas harder to achieve a thicker line. You can display your paintings on the wall and invite friends to see your exhibition.

Painting VR on Meta Quest Pro

Sofia Pitt

These experiences are not new or exclusive to the Pro. All of them can be done on the Quest 2. But everything is faster on the Pro. The visuals are sharper, and the cameras are better and portray your facial expressions in the digital world. The headset is more comfortable. The sensors are more accurate, and the battery life is better. But, besides that, you’ll play the same games and use the same applications with the much less expensive Quest 2.

Should you buy it?

Probably not.

I see some promising use cases for the headset, especially when it comes to education, but there’s no justification yet for buying the more expensive Pro since you currently get similar virtual reality experiences from the Quest 2.

I’m excited to see how developers can expand on the metaverse and give people access to better apps and learning opportunities that may otherwise be impossible in the real world. I can picture a surgeon practicing in the metaverse, or a celebrity holding a free virtual concert that anyone with a headset can attend. But these applications will only work if Meta improves the graphics and makes virtual reality feel much closer to actual reality.

Meta has made improvements to its headset. The software and hardware are better, but there aren’t new applications to justify the huge price hike. While I’m sure the cost of these adjustments justifies some of the price increase, consumers aren’t getting any more real value or new experiences by splurging for the much more expensive headset.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveils $1,500 mixed reality headset, the Meta Quest Pro


Continue Reading


Two children and two adults survive after Tesla plunges 250 feet off California cliff

View from the helicopter during a rescue operation after a vehicle carrying two adults and two children went over a cliff in Devil’s Slide, San Mateo county, California, U.S., January 2, 2023, plunging hundreds of feet, according to the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, in this still image obtained from social media video.

CHP – Golden Gate Division | Reuters

Two adults and two children were rescued from a Tesla that plunged 250 feet off a cliff Monday morning in San Mateo County, California, officials said. 

The car was traveling southbound on the Pacific Coast Highway when it went over the cliff at Devil’s Slide, south of the Tom Lantos tunnel, and landed near the water’s edge below, the Cal Fire San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit said. 

The car flipped and landed on its wheels in the fall, CAL FIRE/Coastside Fire Incident Commander Brian Pottenger said. Witnesses saw the accident and called 911. 

As crews were lowered down, they were able to see movement in the front seat, through their binoculars, meaning someone was alive.

“We were actually very shocked when we found survivable victims in the vehicle. So, that actually was a really hopeful moment for us,” Pottenger said. 

Fire officials called for helicopters to help hoist the survivors to safety. As they waited, firefighters rappelled to the scene and rescued the two children.

Rescue teams are seen at the scene as a Tesla with four occupants plunged over a cliff on Pacific Coast Highway 1 at Devils Slide on January 2, 2022 in San Mateo County, California, United States.

Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The California Highway Patrol shared video on social media showing helicopters lower first responders to the scene to extricate and rescue two adults inside. 

All four were hospitalized. The San Mateo Sheriff’s Office said the two adults suffered non-life-threatening injuries and the two children were unharmed.

It’s not clear what caused the car to go over the cliff. CHP is handling the investigation. 

Continue Reading


Tesla shares tumble more than 10% following deliveries report

Tesla vehicles are shown at a sales and service center in Vista, California, June 3, 2022.

Mike Blake | Reuters

Shares of Tesla dropped 13% on Tuesday morning, a day after the electric auto maker reported fourth-quarter vehicle production and delivery numbers for 2022.

Deliveries are the closest approximation of sales disclosed by Tesla. The company reported 405,278 total deliveries for the quarter and 1.31 million total deliveries for the year. These numbers represented a record for the Elon Musk-led automaker and growth of 40% in deliveries year over year, but they fell shy of analysts’ expectations.

related investing news

Some analysts see a buying opportunity in Tesla for 2023 despite persistent demand pressures


According to a consensus of analysts’ estimates compiled by FactSet, as of Dec. 31, 2022, Wall Street was expecting Tesla to report around 427,000 deliveries for the final quarter of the year. Estimates updated in December, and included in the FactSet consensus, ranged from 409,000 to 433,000.

Those more recent estimates were in line with a company-compiled consensus distributed by Tesla investor relations Vice President Martin Viecha. 

Some Wall Street analysts think Tesla’s deliveries miss spells trouble for the electric vehicle maker, but others see a buying opportunity for the company in 2023.

Baird analyst Ben Kallo, who recently named Tesla a top pick for 2023, maintained an outperform rating and said he would remain a buyer of the stock ahead of the company’s earnings report, which is scheduled for Jan. 25.

“Q4 deliveries missed consensus but beat our estimates,” he said in a Tuesday note. “Importantly, production increased ~20% q/q which we expect to continue into 2023 as gigafactories in Berlin and Austin continue to ramp.”

Analysts at Goldman Sachs said they consider the delivery report to be an “incremental negative,” and view Tesla as a company that is “well positioned for long-term growth.” Goldman reiterated its buy rating on the stock in a Monday note and said that making vehicles more affordable in a challenging macroeconomic environment will be a “key driver of growth.”

“We believe key debates from here will be on whether vehicle deliveries can reaccelerate, margins and Tesla’s brand,” the analysts said.

Shares of Tesla suffered an extreme yearlong sell-off in 2022, prompting CEO Musk to tell employees in late December not to be “too bothered by stock market craziness.”

Musk has blamed Tesla’s declining share price in part on rising interest rates. But critics point to his rocky $44 billion Twitter takeover as a bigger culprit for the slide.

Morgan Stanley analysts said they think the company’s share price weakness is a “window of opportunity to buy.”

“Between a worsening macro backdrop, record high unaffordability, and increasing competition, there are hurdles for all auto companies to overcome in the year ahead,” they said in a note Tuesday. “However, within this backdrop we believe TSLA has the potential to widen its lead in the EV race, as it leverages its cost and scale advantages to further itself from the competition.”

CNBC’s Lora Kolodny and Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

Continue Reading


Tesla makes China boss Tom Zhu its highest-profile executive after Elon Musk

Tom Zhu Xiaotong, Tesla’s current executive in charge of China, speaks as a new Tesla experience store opens on Aug. 18, 2015 in Hangzhou, China.

Visual China Group | Getty Images

Tesla’s China chief Tom Zhu has been promoted to take direct oversight of the electric carmaker’s U.S. assembly plants as well as sales operations in North America and Europe, according to an internal posting of reporting lines reviewed by Reuters.

The Tesla posting showed that Zhu’s title of vice president for Greater China had not changed and that he also retained his responsibilities as Tesla’s most senior executive for sales in the rest of Asia as of Tuesday.

The move makes Zhu the highest-profile executive at Tesla after Chief Executive Elon Musk, with direct oversight for deliveries in all of its major markets and operations of its key production hubs.

The reporting lines for Zhu would keep Tesla’s vehicle design and development — both areas where Musk has been heavily involved — separate while creating an apparent deputy to Musk on the more near-term challenges of managing global sales and output.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Reuters reviewed the organizational chart that had been posted internally by Tesla and confirmed the change with two people who had seen it. They asked not to be named because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

Elon Musk needs to go back to Tesla and have others run Twitter, says Jim Cramer

Zhu and a team of his reports were brought in by Tesla late last year to troubleshoot production issues in the United States, driving an expectation among his colleagues then that he was being groomed for a bigger role.

Zhu’s appointment to a global role comes at a time when Musk has been distracted by his acquisition of Twitter and Tesla analysts and investors have urged action that would deepen the senior executive bench and allow him to focus on Tesla.

Under Zhu, Tesla’s Shanghai plant rebounded strongly from Covid lockdowns in China.

Tesla said on Monday that it had delivered 405,278 vehicles in the fourth quarter, short of Wall Street estimates, according to data compiled by Refinitiv.

The company had delivered 308,600 vehicles in the same period a year earlier.

The Tesla managers reporting to Zhu include: Jason Shawhan, director of manufacturing at the Gigafactory in Texas; Hrushikesh Sagar, senior director of manufacturing at Tesla’s Fremont factory; Joe Ward, vice president in charge of Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and Troy Jones, vice president of North America sales and service, according to the Tesla notice on reporting lines reviewed by Reuters.

Tesla country managers in China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand continued to report to Zhu, the notice showed.

Zhu does not have a direct report at Tesla’s still-ramping Berlin plant, but a person with knowledge of the matter said responsibility for that operation would come with the reporting line for Amsterdam-based Ward. Ward could not be immediately reached for comment.

Zhu, who was born in China but now holds a New Zealand passport, joined Tesla in 2014. Before that he was a project manager at a company established by his MBA classmates at Duke University, advising Chinese contractors working on infrastructure projects in Africa.

During Shanghai’s two-month Covid lockdown, Zhu was among the first batch of employees sleeping in the factory as they sought to keep it running, people who work with him have said.

Zhu, a no-fuss manager who sports a buzz cut, favors Tesla-branded fleece jackets and has lived in a government-subsidized apartment that is a 10-minute drive from the Shanghai Gigafactory. It was not immediately clear whether he would move after his promotion.

He takes charge of Tesla’s main production hubs at a time when the company is readying the launch of Cybertruck and a revamped version of its Model 3 sedan. Tesla has also said it is developing a cheaper electric vehicle but has not provided details on that plan.

When Tesla posted a picture on Twitter last month to celebrate its Austin, Texas, plant hitting a production milestone for its Model Y, Zhu was among hundreds of workers smiling on the factory floor.

Why China is beating the U.S. in electric vehicles

Allan Wang, who was promoted to vice president in charge of sales in China in July, was listed as the legal representative for the operation in registration papers filed with Chinese regulators in a change by the company last month.

Tesla board member James Murdoch said in November the company had recently identified a potential successor to Musk without naming the person. Murdoch did not respond to a request for comment.

Electrek previously reported that Zhu would take responsibility for U.S. sales, delivery and service.

Continue Reading